We should always come forward and tell the truth, right? The truth will set you free, it is said. And I have definitely published here my fair share of analyses about the truth, and about the benefits of finding and telling the truth.
One of the things that I’ve noticed is this: a lot of people who tell lies tend to live a good part of their lives in a state of untruth. Many people mix it up; they are truthful in one kind of situation, and lie a good deal in a different kind of situation. Often, bad things happen when such situations cross each other; someone who has been told the truth speaks to someone that has been lied to, and the lie dominates until both people know the truth. And even after the truth is found out, questions remain as to why the lie needed to exist in the first place. I don’t know too many people who feel pleased when they are lied to.
In my own life, as much as possible, I go a step further than simply telling the truth. I want to live in a state of truth – a place where being authentic and honest and open comes as easy as breathing. Doesn’t this sound like a good idea? Why does it seem like such a tall order?
When things get overwhelming, we develop many, many reasons not to tell the truth. We even develop reasons to not be truthful with ourselves. If you feel that you can’t deal with something, that it is too overwhelming, then what else are you supposed to do but tell yourself that it either doesn’t exist, or you don’t have to deal with it, or it’s not what it seems, that it must be something else … It becomes easy, at times like these, to twist and shape things so that they fit into our world harmoniously. Especially if we desperately need harmony in our lives and aren’t able to find it in the truth about how things truly currently are. Thus, we often suspend living in truth in order to cope.
Another thing about the truth that we often don’t see is how much truth takes away our perceived sense of control. If we live by the truth all the time, then there is so much reality out there whose content we have no license to manipulate anymore. We lose the ability to hide, embellish, distort, avoid, ignore, deny, and even rationalize, to a large degree. When somebody is uncertain or scared of things around them, the last thing that they want is to feel that they are less in control of their reality. Even the clearest, most truthful people have moments when, subconsciously, they are not able to think straight because something is unsettling to deal with, and even such most honorable people for a moment are unable to live in the truth. We’re all human beings.
The crucial distinction happens when it comes time to react to an unsettling truth. When there is uncertainty in the air, when you don’t have it together, when you are unable to determine the next step forward. Everybody gets these moments – but when this happens, do you choose to shut yourself off from such a moment, or do you choose to accept it, even if you must also accept, as part of the truth, that you don’t know what the heck it means just yet? The more a person is able to do this, the more they are likely to gain experience recovering from and accepting the unthinkable, when such unthinkable things happen – in order to more quickly get their groove back.
It’s a tough threshold to cross, if you aren’t already working on crossing it. However, considering that tough things are going to happen to all of us, and all of us are going to die eventually and lose loved ones along the way, I say it’s better to have some perspective about how to approach such things and deal with them. And in order to even be able to approach them, you must cultivate a strong sense of living in the truth – something that modern society, with all its diversions and virtuality, is unfortunately very good at stunting our growth in.
It’s not all doom and gloom; when you live in the truth, you open yourself up to seeing positive, wonderful things also. You become able to see acts of love, kindness, and devotion in places where other people will only see trouble. Living in the truth means that you ask critical questions about how life unfolds. Few people, for example, like it when somebody is angry, but anger can often be a beautiful representation of caring even when it is unwelcome. Silence, aloneness, and lack of contact, often looked at in very negative ways, can be very loving actions also. I have taken myself out of another person’s life when I’ve felt that my presence in it is not helping in any way. Acknowledging this truth, which can be hard to do if you deeply care about the person for whom it is true, allows you to become more comfortable with it, less afraid of the feelings on the other side of it.
Human beings fear the unknown. So much of what we fear, we fear it because we don’t know. We are afraid of being powerless if we cross the threshold and explore things we don’t have a good grip on. Why else would a phenomenon like racism continue existing so persistently, in so many forms? Truly, it boils down to not knowing the complex reality of a situation, and substituting a convenient and easy lie for the tough work of finding out the truth. Racism breaks down completely once those who hold such views can actually explore reality instead of living off of stereotype. But fear is powerful.
You should live in the truth no matter what – because despite the fear that so many people around you are prisoner to, there are actually many more people than you might think that are, in their own way, approaching and dealing with truth, even if they are doing so slowly. Your example – of not surrendering to the fear of thinking and talking about things that are so often deemed off-limits, and thus so desperately need to be talked about and examined – can lead to a lot of friendships and bonds that transcend what is thought to be possible. Positive people know this, and by living in the truth, they not only have richer, more fulfilled lives, but they also enrich the lives of those around them – and that’s a big part of why we treasure the existence of such people in our own lives.